AAPS Updates

Raleigh Sadlier: OT committed to helping students

By Casey Hans

Not everyone loves their work. In Raleigh Sadlier’s case, she not only enjoys it but takes her work home.

The occupational therapist who works at Haisley and Pattengill elementary schools and Scarlett Middle School, says each day – sometimes each hour – brings a new challenge but one that she loves. She and the other OTs in The Ann Arbor Public Schools also get together on weekends to swap information and tips.

Raleigh Sadlier, an Ann Arbor Public Schools occupational therapist, works with  students at Haisley Elementary School. Here, two fifth-graders assist younger students in exercise.

Raleigh Sadlier, an Ann Arbor Public Schools occupational therapist, works with students at Haisley Elementary School. Here, two fifth-graders assist younger students in exercise.

Sadlier says she gleans a lot from teachers with whom she works, since her job requires her to be a jack-of-all-trades.

“It’s a job that requires creativity, patience,” she said. “You have to shift to accommodate the audience: age level, teachers, developmental level. It’s ever-changing. I find it challenging, frustrating and rewarding.”

On Monday mornings, Sadlier has fifth-graders mentor younger students. “They’re great guys who like to help out,” she said.

Fifth-grader Kyle says he’s proud to be helping younger kids with writing and exercise which builds skills. “It’s fun, “he said. “We’re helpful to them.”

Another fifth-grader, Joe, said he enjoys doing exercises with the younger students. “We’re older and we know a lot, so we can teach them what we know,” he added.

“She’s excellent,” said Haisley Principal Mary Anne Jaeger. “She is able to bring students together, including general ed. “She’s extremely competent and looks out for all kids.”

Sadlier said she has loved her profession and that, although college offered a good base, occupational therapy requires a lot of on-the-job training because of students’ individual needs. “You have to get your degree and just get in there,” she added.

Sadlier, 43, has been in the occupational therapy field since 1995, working in Atlanta and Chicago before arriving in Ann Arbor 5 ½ years ago. Coming from a blended family of 9 children, Sadlier grew up in Chicago but said she now calls Ann Arbor home with her husband, Chris, and their two sons.

“I love all of the UMS (University Musical Society) functions, all of the cultural activities, hiking and woods and the river,” she said. “What’s keeping us here are the values of the people of Ann Arbor. They think outside of their neighborhood. People (in Ann Arbor) are aware and interested in the larger picture.”

One of the personal things Sadlier is most proud of is her involvement with a local advocacy group for ALS research, called Ann Arbor Active Against ALS. The group formed after a neighbor developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In just two years, members have raised $40,000, making donations to the University of Michigan and ALS Therapy Development Institute in Cambridge, Mass.

“We’re trying to have it become a communitywide organization,” she added. The group does some fundraisers locally, but also sponsors community events and activities to raise awareness. For more, visit www.A2A3.org.

Casey Hans edits this e-newsletter for The Ann Arbor Public Schools. Contact her via e-mail or by calling 734-994-2090 ext. 51228.

Raleigh Sadlier, in a light-hearted moment in her room at Haisley Elementary.

Raleigh Sadlier, in a light-hearted moment in her room at Haisley Elementary.

Raleigh Sadlier
Occupation: Occupational therapist for The Ann Arbor Public Schools. Assigned this year to work at Haisley and Pattengill elementary schools and Scarlett Middle School.
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in occupational therapy from the University of Wisconsin.
Age: 43
Family: Married to Chris. They have two sons, Noah, 12, who attends Tappan Middle School, and Nathan, 9, who attends Burns Park Elementary.
Pets: A golden Retriever named Flyer, a turtle named Victory and dozens of fish.
Hobbies: Hiking, camping, canoeing and enjoying Ann Arbor’s cultural activities.
Favorite campground: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon.
Community Service: Active in her sons’ school PTOs. She serves on the board for Ann Arbor Active Against ALS, a group formed after her neighbor developed the disease.
Favorite meal: “Anything Indian that my husband cooks well.”
Last book read: “I just reread “The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver. I also recommend “Zeitoun” by Dave Eggers, about Hurricane Katrina.”
Life philosophy: “Live and let live.”

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